15:29 29.01.2021

There can be no question of holding referendums in country at war – opinion

2 min read

KYIV. Jan 29 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The law on democracy through a referendum, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 26, will not have a positive impact in Ukraine due to the ongoing war, Director of the Ukrainian Barometer sociological service Viktor Nebozhenko has said.

"Frankly speaking, no history of Europe has war referendums. If a war in a country is a sick society, it was subjected to aggression, there is not a word about any referendum," Nebozhenko said during a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Friday.

The expert calls the idea of plebiscite democracy and the emergence of "a shadow of a national leader instead of the president" as another thesis regarding the adopted law.

"Referendums in such semi-police weakened states are nothing more than an informal idea of plebiscite democracy, and instead of the president, instead of the prime minister, instead of the 'big and small Razumkovs,' there is a scarecrow or shadow of Trump – the national leader, direct contact between the population of Ukraine, voters and leader. This is what the referendum gives," Nebozhenko said.

At the same time, he believes that the initiation of a referendum by the president himself may become an option for him to return to a rating of up to 35%.

"The referendum cannot be combined with the elections. But to hold a referendum, which will give enormous powers to the initiator-president [...] yes, for him this is one of the options to return to at least 35%, and this is already a completely different electoral situation in early elections," Nebozhenko said.

According to a poll conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on January 22, incumbent head of state Volodymyr Zelensky would be supported by 19.8% of Ukrainians who are confident in their choice if the presidential elections in Ukraine were held next Sunday.